Jon Flanagan knows what his team-mates are thinking, even if they don’t say it out loud.
With 10 games remaining on the Premier League fixture list - 12 for Manchester City, of course - the stretch run is officially upon the top flight, with second place Liverpool just four points off the summit.
Run those words through a time machine to beam them back to August, and the expression of shock on the faces of both Reds supporters and those on the outside would make for a brilliant YouTube reaction video montage.
But in truth, none of the surprise matters anymore at this point. As much as their credentials have been questioned, Brendan Rodgers’ men are firmly in the hunt for the title - and the Northern Irishman’s continued downplaying of his side’s contender status can’t change that.
It’s been a touchy subject for the man at the helm to manage. Not inviting unwelcome pressure on a group that probably didn’t even consider top honours a reasonable goal six months ago has been a noble pursuit, and a necessary one to boot.
Still, the prospect of taking the league crown - as difficult as doing so would be - looms large and any level of deflection can’t fully remove its spectre from the minds of those in the dressing room.
And 21-year-old Flanagan is well aware of what’s rattling around in his team-mates’ heads - despite the fact that the Reds prefer to keep title talk out of daily conversation.
“Nobody really talks about [the title] much,” he told talkSPORT. “But it’s definitely something that’s in my mind and it’s probably in the other players’ minds as well.
“But we’re just taking every game as it comes, we’ll keep pushing on and hopefully keep getting three points. If we’re still in this position with five games to go I think we’re in with a big shout.
“Our home form has been terrific this year, and with three big games [Chelsea, City, and Tottenham] at home still to come I think the advantage is on our side.
“They’ll be tough games but our confidence is high at the moment, we’re scoring lots of goals in every game and we’re ready to take on anyone.”
Certainly the youngster doesn’t lack confidence and knows what is possible if Liverpool retain their current form, having won four straight at present.
A hope and a chance are both about for Flanagan. Now comes the hardest part for the Reds - making the final push for a title that’s still far off, but admittedly within reach.
image: © Sarah Skelton